The Irish Catholics of Manchester and Salford : aspects of their religious and political history, 1890-1939
The purpose of this thesis was to highlight an aspect of the heterogeneous character of working class culture. To this end, it investigated the Irish Catholic population of Manchester and Salford, two cities not normally associated with sectarianism, in the period 1890-1939, a time when anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment was supposedly on the wane in the face of 'class' feeling. The study concluded that hostilities based on nationality and religion were a recurrent feature of popular culture. The rise of the Labour party failed to transform such deep-rooted sentiments, to some extent it made use of them. The Catholic Church used its extensive influence in order to isolate adherents from non-Catholics, thereby contributing to the prevalent - although often latent - sectarian feelings. Despite changes which helped weaken the strength of mutual mistrust, in 1939 Irish Catholics remained culturally Janus-faced: they were neither fully Irish nor completely Mancunian. Consequently, they held a contingent and variable place within the city's working class. This study utilised numerous source materials, including oral history, the local press, Catholic diocesan and parochial archives, as well as political records.